Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Medical Miracles

There are at least two amazing medical miracles relating to eating food in Indonesia - the common roadside warung, and the more "upmarket" masakan Padang genre of restaurant. Both are miracles due to the fact that people can eat there on a daily basis without dying from any number of illnesses from e.coli or salmonella.

Many warung diners take precautions by bringing their own bowl, or having their food served on a layer of paper, but that doesn't account for the thrillseekers who happily eat from the warung's crockery, which five minutes earlier was being washed in the same drain running behind the warung that several hundred children and adults have used as a call to nature during the day within a vicinity of 50 metres of the warung. Seasoned expats claim that the only way to build up resistance to these risks is to take your chances, so that if you survive your first bout of gastrointestinal troubles you'll have enough antibodies in your system that you won't get ill again. I have my doubts, but that strategy certainly appears to work for the local population.

On the other hand, masakan Padang restaurants offer a dim sum style of buffet meal featuring the cuisine of the Minangkabau people from Padang, Sumatra. It's very spicy food served at room temperature, with plates of the actual food you'll be choosing from on display all day in the front window of the non-air conditioned restaurant. I don't know about you, but I was always told that cooked food left to sit at room temperature is the most efficient way to generate nasty salmonella bacteria, so it beats me why people don't arrive home after eating at a masakan Padang restaurant and immediately drop dead.


Blogger undercovercookie said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE masakan Padang and have never (not once) suffered as a result.
Bear in mind that some dishes are DESIGNED to keep. Rendang is cooked for so long that it cooks the moisture out of the meat, effectively preserving it. Dendeng is also a meat preserved lik this, fried until it is dry.
I'd stear clear of the offal (liver, kidneys etc) but the tough meat dishes won't do you any harm.
I always had Rendang (my favourite) and never once had a problem.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Indi said...

weak people are a result of overly-hygienic foods.

1:50 PM  
Blogger The Editor said...

Indi: In that case, perhaps your son needs to try some Masakan Padang food to make him healthy and strong?

3:29 PM  

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